Online College tips and supplies: Part One

Hey y’all! It is that time of year again and I can smell the aroma of fresh school supplies just thinking of the month August. As some of y’all might know, I am an online college student/ stay-at-home-mama. I have taken over 60 hours online and honestly, it has been the best thing not only for my family, but for me as a student academically.  I was so nervous going back to school especially doing it online. Which meant I needed to be very dedicated and much of online courses is independent work you teach yourself.

I am a control-freak if you will. I have always been a very independent-I will do it my way type of person. Online college has allowed me to take my personality and apply it to my education. When you’re taking online classes, with most professors, you are given a syllabus with due dates, the rest of it is up to you and you will never hear from your professor again, outside of his remarks on your paper. There is no actual lecture from your teacher. You won’t get youtube videos to watch, notes to write, or even powerpoints. Instead it will be straight textbook work, reading books, and research on the internet. ( I am a history major though, so that is a given anyway)

In order to be successful, you will need to have the set up to become a successful online student. I have put together a “school supply list”, if you will, that I use when studying for my classes. Over the past five semesters, I realized you don’t need much to be successful outside of the drive to get the work done, but here is my list for back-to-online college-supplies:

1.  Laptop and wireless mouse:

Of course if you’re taking online classes, you need a laptop! However, make sure you buy one that is very dependable since your literal class is hosted on that computer. I had an issue once with my Dell Laptop   That took about a week to fix! Lucky for me I had a sister who had an extra laptop I used that week. Outside of that one issue, I  have had this dell computer for two years and use it daily!

The wireless mouse I use is not necessarily a must-have, but it does make usage much easier than the mouse touch-pad on my computer! They are fairly cheap, around ten bucks! Target always has a cartwheel deal every few weeks on wireless mouses.

2. Wireless Printer

Like the wireless mouse, this is not a must-have but it does make life so much easier.For two semesters I wrote everything by hand. Now I either use word, or just print and highlight a document I need for notes/ studying. The one I use is a laser printer by Brother. I got mine at best buy, but I found that Office Depot is having a sale right now: click here

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3. Daily-Weekly Planner

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The planner I got this year was from target and I could not find a link to it! My favorite type of planner is a monthly-daily one! I can write due dates in the monthly, and notes if needs be on the material in the day section. Without a planner, I CAN NOT remember due dates! Even though most test are due certain days of the week like every Thursday, I still love to be able to look at the date and know exactly what I need to submit.

There are plenty of resources out there for free printable planners, with a binder you can make your own!

4. A desk and Chair

DO NOT use your bed as a work space! Trust me, I have done that and let me tell you, nothing is more of a turn off than having to do work in your comfy bed! In order for me to stay focused/ be able to stay organized I have to sit in an actual chair. For me, I don’t have a desk but I do use my dining room table at night to study. In my closet I have a nice little work space set up where I organize all my supplies, books and put my printer, so this way at the end of the night, I can put all my stuff away, access it easily, and still have a dining room table.

Find what works for you, and stick to it! A bed is made for sleeping, a couch for lounging, not studying. 😉

5. Highlighters and Pens

My next blog will feature, tips and tricks to online classes/ studying so I don’t want to get into too much detail.  My life revolves around colored highlighter and pens! Make sure you stock up on pens!!! Unless you’re a math/science major, you won’t need many pencils when taking online classes (unless you prefer to write in pencil) since your test are online and not on a scantron.

6. POST ITs and Page Tabs

Another thing I can’t live without is post-it notes and page tabs! I write post its for everything: My planner, to take notes on certain pages, and to write my daily chores on. Page tabs help me to remember what/where I am studying, or where things are in my notes! Again I organize everything by color!

7. Folders & A binder

You will need things to keep all of your paperwork organized. I print A LOT of notes, quotes from websites, you name it. In order to know where the papers I print are, I organize them by folders!  I have used the same two binders for the last four semesters, I just clear them out for the next semester. No sense in buying new, when you can reuse!

8. A Flash Drive

Since most of your work will be done on the computer, you will need a secure way to save your documents! Work smarter, not harder.

9. Flashcards

Flashcards saved me when I took all of my Spanish courses! They are really great to write quick notes on each chapter or section you’re studying!

10. PAPER, PAPER, PAPER

I print EVERYTHING! When you’re an online student, you don’t get hand outs printed ahead of time by your professor! It is your job to print it out or store it on your computer. For me I like a physical copy of everything. I also use a five course spiral so I can organize all of my notes in ONE notebook!

And there you have it, my list of the top ten things that keeps me organized and prepared as a student! Again, learn yourself and understand how you best study. What works for me, may not work for you. Keep on the look out for my next blog for online college study tips!

Until next time, hugs from Texas,

-C

 

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